WR10 Grassroots for Europe 2nd Meeting 10 11 18

Followed the Birmingham meeting September of c40 activists -Location – Albany Gt Portland St. 60 present, plus platform. Room full but comfortable. The demographic was – entirely white, over 40, the agenda item on inclusivity not reached when I left.


The main purpose of the meeting as with the September meeting was to enter into dialogue with Millbank and this was achieved. 51 local groups had written though 51 groups were not represented at meeting. The attendance seemed more London than at the previous meeting. The presences of Tom Bruffato (Britain4Europe) and even more Hugo Dixon, vice chair of the People’s Vote (PV) was the visible sign that Millbank took the meeting seriously.

The key address was given by Tom Bruffato who outlined the strategic thinking behind the PV and why PV did not call for a referendum on remaining in the EU. The tactic is to identify 3 key messages identified by a polling company as effective and repeat repeat repeat as the only way reach the target audience. PV had limited resources and could only reach soft leave and remain voters who form the key target. Winning over Leavers to a PV is the key task. PV is not in favour of Bin Brexit or other negative positions, it is simply for a People’s Vote on the outcome of the deal negotiations.

PARLIAMENTARY STRATEGY An analysis of what might start to happen next week in Westminster was sketched. The Millbank parliamentary strategy to get a PV is not to force the issue and let all other options fail. Labour is unlikely to whip in favour of a PV until and unless its preferred option of a General Election is off the agenda. Labour currently will not accept a No Deal. PV is therefore prepared to wait till that option becomes a serious possibility.

Hugo Dixon clarified that the PV strategy is to build support among MPs for a vote and all other options will have to be exhausted by votes in the Commons as Labour will not whip its MPs for a PV until its preference for a General Election is ruled out. Both speakers thought Grassroots can play a key part in convincing MPs. A Merseyside delegate confirmed the value of talking to Labour MPs who will listen to small delegations at surgeries.

Dixon spent much time on the Positive Vision strategy now being talked of as winning the PV if it takes place by avoiding the negatives of the Number 10 strategy of 2016. The three key ideas for a Positive Vision strategy currently are Peace, Prosperity, Power as the things UK gets from the EU. The concern of several present was that facts do not work, emotion (or more properly values which appeal to a public which thinks politicians ignore them) are the key.

At the end Colin Gordon (Oxford) moved a cross organisation group collaborative (network) be set up to work on leaflets, supported by Nick Hopkinson, (European Movement Branches Forum). Tom Bruffato queried urging emphasis be on lobbying MPs, but the motion was carried unopposed.

Overall a very useful event and the fact that two meetings had been held showed Millbank is concerned. On to the meeting on the 24th.

Trevor Fisher  20 11 18